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Close the legal gap on hate speech

Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, an effective but flawed tool in combating online hate speech, was removed in 2013. This left a gap in the effort to protect Canadians from hate speech, which could be addressed in several ways.


Recommendations

Section 13 could be re-established with strong provisions – as advocated by the Hon. Irwin Cotler – to protect legitimate freedom of expression and prevent vexatious use of the Section. Alternatively, the Government of Canada could provide training and guidelines to help provincial attorneys general, prosecutors, and police more effectively enforce Criminal Code hate speech provisions.

Training and parameters should cite the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism as a practical tool, following its recent adoption by the government as part of Canada’s anti-racism strategy.

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